Opposition speaks in one voice on JPC probe

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New Delhi, Feb 8 (PTI) The all-party meeting convenedby Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee today saw almost theentire opposition speaking in one voice on their demand for aJPC probe into anomalies in the 2G spectrum allocation.

BJP Parliamentary Party Chief and NDA working chairmanL K Advani, while summing up the opposition viewpoint towardsthe end of the meeting, said neither should the governmentthink that accepting the JPC demand would be its defeatnor should the opposition treat it as a victory.

"Advani said the general opinion in the country was infavour of a JPC probe and the government should be graciousenough to agree to it even without the opposition pressing forit," a leader present at the meeting said.

Mukherjee, who was the host at the luncheon meeting,said that he would convey the views of all the parties to thegovernment and get back to them.

"No price is high for restoring the functioning ofParliament," Mukherjee said, according to sources.

This led the opposition to surmise that the governmentis "inching towards" accepting its demand for a JPC probe intothe scam.

Leader of Opposition in Lok Sabha Sushma Swarajcategorically told the government that NDA would not agreeto suggestions that first a debate be held in the House on theissue and then a decision be taken.

"Swaraj suggested that the government should move amotion in the House for formation of a JPC and then the issueof holding a debate or not holding it can be dealt with," asource said.

Interestingly, even smaller parties like SamajwadiParty, BSP and AIADMK were vocal in demanding a JPC probeduring the meeting.

"SP spokesperson and MP Mohan Singh was strongly infavour of a JPC probe. Even the BSP echoed these sentimentssaying a JPC should be formed as was AIADMK," a leader said.

The meeting was not without its lighter moments withNC leader and union minister Farooq Abdullah stating that hisgrandchildren had asked him why the Parliament had notfunctioned during the Winter session.

DMK leader T R Baalu reportedly said Parliament shouldfirst pass the annual budget and complete all the financialbusiness and then think of discussing the JPC issue. Though nomember intervened, several opposition MPs exchanged knowingsmiles when Baalu gave this suggestion.

At the end of the meeting, opposition members -including those from the Left parties - appeared optimisticthat the government is willing to concede to its JPC demand,leaders said.

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